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AQA shakespeare and literary heritage -How many POEMS?!

Discussion in 'English' started by Kidders, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. Kidders

    Kidders New commenter

    I am teaching this unit in September and have to start with the poems, however my school divide the 3 CATs into one for Shakespeare (R&J), one for Different cultures (OM&M) and one for the literary heritage (poetry) and therefore I need to know how many poems the students need to actually write about.

    The AQA guidelines state that a poetry text consists of 15 poems... but there is absolutely NO way they could write about 15!! Can somebody tell me if it's okay to focus on 2 or 3 to be explored in the CAT or if i've missed something!

  2. sweetie1

    sweetie1 New commenter

    The Controlled Assessment for the Lit exam is Shakespeare and the English Literary Herritage. Although AQA say you can do it in two hits - teach and write about Shakespeare and then teach and write about the ELH - the marking criteria suggests that comparison and links are needed for the higher bands, and the overall mark is for both sections. I can't see how your school can be dividing it into two totally different Controlled Assessments to be honest.
    With regard to the poems, panic not! You have to give your students access to fifteen poems but they only need write about 2 or 3 in the Controlled Assessment. Following guidance from our advisor, we explored many of the poems in depth with the students, but also did some as homework activities.
    Beware also what constitutes ELH - Heaney (Irish) is included, but Duffy isn't. Plath (American) is also included. It's a funny old mix and we were advised not to come away from it.
    It's all very unclear, but hopefully now it's been up and running for a year, things will be a little less stressful all round!
  3. Hi there! Just thinking through my planning for September and Macbeth plus poetry. I did spot on p.11 of the Lit spec 'must not be a text studied in any other unit of this course'. Take care the poems don't clash with your cluster authors for either Unit 2/5 depending on your route through. I'm using some of the poets but different text choices to be safe. I think I'm going to divide Macbeth into seven key scenes. Then once I read a scene, I'll quickly add in x2/3 poems to open up discussion. That means I could offer one CAT task but differentiate the scenes + poems for Band 5/4 and then Band 3 downwards. This means students get 'choice' but a well steered one hopefully. All of the class will have read a whole bunch of poems but only closely make notes say three times? This is my plan, in my head it looks clear, in front of Y11 - who knows!

  4. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    OP, are you sure you're not confusing English with English Language? In English, the three tasks can be done separately as you describe.
    Writing about two or three poems is fine, as I understand it.
  5. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    I did Romeo and Juliet and compared it with some of Shakespeare's sonnets. I studied 4 sonnets in depth with the pupils then allowed them to read and research a few more of their own. We conducted some speaking and listening in groups during which they discussed their sonnets and created their planning pages for the CA.
    Then they wrote their assignment comparing different ways of presenting love in the play and the sonnets. The best students were able to draw comparison between Romeo's increasing maturity (apparently) and Shakespeare's own changing attitude to love in his sonnets (e.g. the progression from Sonnet 18, to 116, to 130).
    It turned out rather well, especially for the top end pupils. The middle ability kids did well, but needed to sustain their analysis of language for longer.
  6. Kidders

    Kidders New commenter

    Ah apologies - yes I am talking about English! (Not the lang part of lit/lang) I have to start with Unit 3a literary heritage (poetry) and will look at Shakespeare's R&J in the Spring. Can I also ask if the 'theme' needs to run through the entire course ie relationships in S'peare, Diff Cultures and Lit heritage?

    Looking at the CATs for 2013 (the batch my Y10s will do) can I move between the 'Themes and Ideas' and 'Characterisation and Voice' or should I stick with one focus throughout? E.g. Explore the ways writers? present conflict in the texts you have studied.

    Thanks for clearing up the 2-3 poems dilemma! Is it wrong of me to only teach 5 or 6 poems, surely 15 is a little excessive, especially if they won't be writing about them! ??
  7. regentsreject

    regentsreject Occasional commenter

    For English, you can choose to do the same title for all three texts or mix them.
    The 15 poem rule is a QCDA requirement but "studying" 15 poems is not the same as the teacher teaching 15 poems!
  8. Last year for Literature, we taught conflict in Macbeth and My Last Duchess was the poem we used for the comparison. For the top two sets, they also used The Laboratory as a third text to compare with the other two.
    We emailed AQA in the summer of last year to check that this was ok because we didn't want students writing about one poem to be penalised. They said that My Last Duchess was a long poem so if students only wrote about that and compared it to Macbeth in detail, it was fine.
    I've kept all correspondence just in case there are problems when we submit the assessments!
  9. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    When I rang AQA last week, they told me that they only had to write about one. WHY OH WHY OH WHY can they not make a decision and stick to it!? ARGH!
  10. gerbos

    gerbos New commenter

    Do you have the questions you set for the controlled test? This sounds a fantastic combination.
  11. We work to the QDCA requirement that full texts should be studied for each unit, with 15 poems constituting a full text.
    The difference between studying 15 poems and actually teaching 15 poems has already been highlighted in an earlier post, but it is an important distinction to make.
    For assessment purposes it's fine to write about parts of texts, or in the case of poetry, individual poems. This is stated in the specifications, and it is something that we encourage as it can keep students focused.
    Ultimately it's not the number of poems that is important.The most important thing is for students to cover enough material to allow them to meet the marking criteria, in relation to their ability. For controlled assessment this can only be decided by the teacher.


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